Over 24 hours after the second edition of the DRHEAM CUP-Destination Cotentin set sail, the fleet of 73 boats that left La Trinité-sur-Mer in south-west Brittany on Monday bound for Cherbourg-en-Cotentin in the English Channel, are making headway upwind along the Breton coast in light conditions.
The scorching summer weather that has reigned across France since the start of the week has not been sparing of the Atlantic coast and though LA DRHEAM CUP-Destination Cotentin fleet has been able to get gently into the match in these very light conditions, the sailors have still been put through their paces with a climb upwind in a light breeze (5-6 knots) in blazing sunshine, which has put both body and mind under pressure as each of them attempts to find the best possible route to make headway to the north-west, towards the DRHEAM CUP mark located offshore of Ushant, which the fleet must leave to starboard.
This mark was rounded midway through this afternoon by the fastest boats, namely the Multi50s, which are embroiled in a battle royal, with Armel Tripon (Réauté Chocolat) currently leading the fight slightly further north of his two immediate rivals, Thibaut Vauchel-Camus (Solidaires en Peloton-ARSEP) and Erwan Le Roux (FenêtréA-Mix Buffet), who have headed a little further west in the hope of slightly more breeze as the wind shifts round to the WSW, enabling them to lengthen their stride a little in the Celtic Sea.
Among the Imoca boats, Yann Eliès had the right idea. Indeed, given the light conditions forecast, the skipper of Ucar-Saint-Michel predicted that the race start would favour Isabelle Joschke on her 60-footer with daggerboards, Monin. And so it is that she is leading the fleet of 10 Imocas this Tuesday afternoon, though Sam Davies is hot on her heels on her foiling Initiatives Cœur, barely losing any ground to the leader (less than 2 miles on Tuesday at 15:00 GMT), Yann Eliès some fifteen miles or so off the pace and Stéphane Le Diraison (Boulogne-Billancourt) around twenty miles or so back.
In Class40, the fleet has split into two groups with a dozen or so competitors to the west, who appear to have taken the more favourable option, led by Yoann Richomme on his brand new Lombard design (Veedol) ahead of Briton Phil Sharp (Imerys), the Belgian Jonas Gerckens (Volvo) and French sailors Aymeric Chappellier (Aïna-Enfance et Avenir) and Nicolas Troussel (Corum). Out to the east, the second group is being led by Briton Sam Goodchild (All in for the Rhum), who will be forced to tack across the race zone in order to leave the DRHEAM CUP mark to starboard.
Still out on the long 736-mile course, Bretagne Télécom (Nicolas Groleau) and Team Jolokia (Jean-François Levasseur) are enjoying a great duel in the large Open monohull category, whilst Cap au Cap Location (Wilfried Clerton) and Bo Carré (Gildas Breton) are respectively heading the Rhum Class monohulls and multihulls.
Out on the 428-mile course via Wolf Rock, Charlie Capelle (Acapella-Soréal-Proludic) is leading the way after 24 hours of racing, ahead of a fellow inhabitant of La Trinité, Yann Marilley (No Limit BMP). Meantime, the head of the IRC fleet is offshore of Ushant, the skipper of Amanjiwo 2 (Sébastien Harinkouck) leading the march in front of Lann Ael 2 (Didier Gaudoux), with Raging-Bee (Louis-Marie Dussere) heading the double-handed IRC category. Of note is the retirement of the classic yacht Midnight Summer Dream, which is making for Lorient, where Arnaud Boissières (La Mie Câline) has also stopped off due to a pilot ram issue.
So what’s next? More light airs along the DRHEAM 400 course and slightly more breeze and better angles for those competing in the DRHEAM 700